"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
September 14, 2007

What’s In a Name?

Anciently, when one made a covenant, one received a new name. In Isaiah 43:1 God states not only “I have redeemed thee” but also “I have called thee by a new name.” This association between covenants and new names exists today, even in temporal matters. When a professional athlete signs a contract with a new team, he takes on the name of that team. When a person receives all the appropriate medical training, he takes the Hippocratic oath (a kind of covenant) and takes on the new name of doctor. Most commonly, when a man and a woman marry, the bride traditionally takes on the name of her husband. When we enter into Christ’s church by covenant, we receive the name of Christ. “In ancient times, a name was more than an identifying label. Your name was your essence, what you were all about, your identity rather than just your identification” (Harold S. Kushner as cited by Dallin H. Oaks, His Holy Name, pg. 46). Thus, to take on Christ’s name is both a privilege and an obligation. It requires us to also take on his identity, his way of being, and his mission of saving souls. The only way to accomplish this formidable task is through the covenant itself. With this covenant comes the gift of the Holy Ghost, which purifies our nature, reshapes our hearts, and fills us with the desire to live higher and holier lives. Gradually everyone that is called by his name is created, or recreated, for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). This is the whole essence of our covenants. They have been given by a loving God to strengthen our commitment and to keep us on track. They are to lift and to bless, to ennoble and to purify, and ultimately to help us become what he is and receive all that he has. Such is our privilege as a covenant people. (Amy Blake Hardison, Being a Covenant People, Covenants, Prophecies and Hymns of the Old Testament, pg. 31-32)